We never thought we’d be able to say this, but: Rodrigo Duterte ends drug war against low-level offenders. The president of the Philippines has been on a savage mission to fight the War on Drugs. His overzealousness has killed thousands of people over the course of the past year. But there may be some relief in sight. He has announced plans to pull back his murderous tactics. The reason? He hopes to appease some of the “bleeding hearts” that have largely criticized his methods.
Has Duterte Grown A Conscience?
Duterte has taken the nation’s drug problem out of the hands of local police. He announced on Thursday that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would now be solely responsible for dealing with drug offenders. The revision will target only the “big fish,” he said during an impassioned speech.
But it’s not out of the goodness of his heart. Duterte, however, is not stopping his hungry hounds from devouring anyone who dares to dabble in illegal drugs due to a sudden jolt of empathy. And it’s not because he’s realized that cold-blooded murder is no way to put a dent in the drug problem.
“The Punisher,” as he is referred to, insisted that this approach, which takes the focus off street-level operations and will instead go after the cartels, is being implemented for another reason. He wants to prevent dire consequences in the realm of foreign trade.
“I am not interested anymore in using any other [agency], just let PDEA,” Duterte said, according to Reuters. “They seem to want it, I want, as a last word, maybe this would suffice for the stupid European Union guys. They were all focused on how many deaths.”
Following Duterte’s latest announcement, police agencies all across the country shut down their anti-drug units. These forces are the same ones responsible for killing nearly 3,900 “drug personalities,” which included drug users and small time dealers, over the past 15 months.
Support for Duterte
Although there has been a lot of criticism from across the globe regarding Detente’s murderous rampage, the one political force that has applauded these vile tactics is none other than U.S. President Donald Trump.
Earlier this year, the Intercept published a transcript of a phone conservation that happened back in April between the two leaders, revealing that Trump believes Duterte is doing “an unbelievable job” combating the drug war.
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”
However, while The Donald seems to be in favor of killing people associated with illegal drugs, the people of the Philippines believe a new approach to handling the problem would be better.
A recent public opinion poll shows that Filipinos do not agree with all of the murder. However, they are still very much enthused with Duterte’s approach to almost every other policy.
Final Hit: Duterte Ends Drug War Against Low-Level Offenders
Regarding the change in drug enforcement, PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon said, “We are ready, we can do it.”
“We will target the source, the so-called big fish,” he added. “Removing these high-value targets will also eliminate the street level distribution and disrupt the entire network.”
Duterte has ended the drug war against low-level offenders, although he doesn’t appear too enthused about it. However, President Duterte admits the policy change will keep more people across the country alive.
“Let’s go there. No death, no encounter. So better for the bleeding hearts and media. I hope I will satisfy you,” he said.